ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) _ Dell Computer Corp. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter earnings rose 52 percent from the same quarter last year.

Dell, the nation's largest seller of computers by mail, earned $285 million in the three months ended Feb. 1, or 81 cents per diluted share, compared with $188 million, or 50 cents per diluted share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenues rose to $3.7 billion from $2.4 billion.

``By remaining focused, we have helped our customers benefit from the superior performance, service and value that our unique direct model delivers,'' Chairman Michael Dell said.

Dell said revenue growth in Asia led its various markets, while consumer business in the Americas nearly doubled over the previous year.

``By all measures we had an extraordinary year,'' Dell said. ``Staying focused on what our customers want, on consistently executing over time and on building upon the strengths our unique direct business model was fundamental to our success in fiscal 1998.''

The company also announced a two-for-one stock split for shareholders of record as of Feb. 27. The split will be paid in the form of a 100 percent stock dividend to be issued March 6.

For the year, Dell earned $944 million, or $2.56 per share, on revenues of $12.3 billion.

The results were released after stock markets closed for the day. Before the announcement, Dell shares closed up $1.875 at $113.18 3/4 on the Nasdaq stock market.